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5 Key Techniques to Improve User Experience For Mobile Banking

5 Key Techniques to Improve User Experience For Mobile Banking

Customer acceptance of mobile banking apps and mobile banking services is on an all-time high by both existing and emerging economies. However, the impact of a good user experience is often underestimated. Research points out that nearly half the millennial customers are dissatisfied with mobile banking and online banking services. With increasing dependency on mobile banking apps should be a signal for banks to rethink their mobile banking design. The digitization teams responsible for mobile strategy will have to include user experience as a value-adding differentiator to increase customer satisfaction and loyalty.

A recent study on user experience for mobile banking revealed that there is a correlation between user experience and mobile banking. It states that these two needs to go hand in hand to increase adoption and usage numbers, especially in the developing countries.

Emerging economies are utilizing mobile banking and hybrid-online payments services to empower the bottom of the pyramid (BoY) population with financial inclusion. With over 3.9 billion BoY population worldwide ( 95% – South Asia, 68% Middle-East & Africa, and 27% Latin America). A mobile banking app with a combination of high functionality and good UX design can assist in tapping the potential banking market. (Statistics source – PwC)

Given the reason, it is imperative that a good UX experience is crucial for mobile banks to be used and appreciated by its customers.


Here are 5 ways to improve user experience for mobile banking:-

Make security a top priority

It is quite a challenge to create a secure, yet user-friendly mobile banking app on two of the major mobile operating systems – Android and iOS) since both are completely different. Balancing security with a good UX is pivotal. Recent times has seen a surge in mobile banking trojans which topped the threats related to mobile banking. Although incorporating a multi-factor authentication can be easy, user’s response is not favorable. Almost 74% customers hated two-factor authentication to sign in.

One way of addressing this security issue can by introducing either fingerprint or voice or facial recognition technology. This biometric technology analyzes physical characteristics and behavioral patterns. This allows for a new level of security and usability by solving user friction and security lapses. Nevertheless, it is good when developers adopt a “security first” philosophy when it comes to UX design.

Bankable integration of legacy systems and customer interface

Almost 66% of customers who use mobile banking regularly demand easier and faster services that many legacy banking institutions are straining to deliver, mainly due to the true integration of the back-end systems and manual process with the front-end systems. This lack of proper integration sets back the digital transformation goals of banking and financial organizations by large measures. Not surprisingly, 50% shareholders responsible for digital transformation, in a recent survey have said that legacy systems are one of the biggest barriers to making the transformation take effect.

The current approach of integration is done by building a layer of applications around the legacy systems to provide a customer interface because a 360-degree transformation would involve replacing or extensively upgrading the existing back-end systems. For the future, the usage of a middleware – a Java or a PHP based backend to converse between legacy systems and mobile apps.

Another option would be to implement Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), through cloud computing. Even a hybrid integration, can connect legacy systems to internal applications and third-party applications through APIs.

Incorporate emerging technologies to enhance services

With evolving technology such as AI and machine learning, mobile banks applications will touch new degrees of sophistication especially with voice and facial biometrics, along with growing confidence in the beneficial nature of chatbots.

It is predicted that by 2020, 50% of all searches will be voice-based. These voices searched are predicted to be carried out by voice-enabled assistants powered by AI. Voice-enabled AI can perform searches and even initiate payments. The voice-controlled mobile application is already a reality. For example, the Royal Bank of Canada added Siri to their mobile app.

Many banks have already given a go-ahead to facial and image technology. The mobile user interface and core banking systems are connected via an Enterprise Content Management System. The inclusion of facial biometric technology as a part of user experience can ensure significant time savings and increased productivity.

Banking chatbots are enjoying widespread acceptance, so much so that by 2020, 85% customer interaction with banks will be through chatbots. Developing a conversation UI for chatbots can lead to high engagement and lower abandonment rate. Some uses of chatbot can extend beyond customer support and recommendations. For example, American Express (AmEx) employs chatbots that can identify and terminate credit card fraud.

Personalized Services to improve satisfaction

The power of personalization services through mobile banking apps has not yet plateaued. This includes both UX and content personalization. A UX personalization would involve allowing users to customize home screens, choose colors and increase or decrease font sizes. With additional how-to-guides and quick access to customer support (help buttons) would assist customers who prefer self-service. Through content personalization, geo-fence based notifications or reminders can be sent to customers when customers in near the vicinity of the bank. This location-based user experience design in real-time can increase the app engagement by 2x times.

Personalization experience can also be included in the form of budgeting tools, financial advisors for investment wisdom and even for scheduling appointments for VIP customers. AI integrated design can perform these functionalities with ease. It can also be used to extract data and financial records to cross-sell products to the right customer at the right time.

Minimize effort with streamlined navigation and reduced customer input

A good mobile banking design should ideally include proper navigation and instant redirects to point the customers to the content they are looking for. With landmarks and icons, such as search boxes, section navigation tools and labels in the app, it can appear intuitive whilst simple to use. Although, identifying where the customer is getting lost in the navigation process through touch heat maps can be used to rectify the problem areas. It is also a good guideline to tell the customer which screen they are looking at by highlighting the respective icon.

A mobile banking app that avoids demanding too much effort from the customer is the first to pleasing the customer. By automatically populating data or setting up defaults for repetitive actions can greatly reduce customer effort and errors. Auto-suggestion, spell-check and predictive text, without overdoing, can bring down the time spent on data entry.

For banks aiming to delight their mobile banking population, it is crucial to deliver high-quality user experience. In the long run, a great user experience will likely be a good pay off by increasing revenue through elevated customer satisfaction levels and by boosting customer loyalty. Also, in the future, AI will become instrumental in bringing a refined user experience in the mobile banking applications.




The AGILE Mindset – The differentiator between doing Agile and being Agile

The AGILE Mindset – The differentiator between doing Agile and being Agile

Agile is not just about stand up meetings and sprints. To deliver superior quality of work to clients, the mindset in the organization across all layers should be flexible and open to embrace change. Agile needs to be looked at as a mindset rather than a set of tools and processes.

The way the team responds to a changes, impediments; and delivers value to the client in small timeboxes as fast as possible, to fetch continuous feedback, is a part of an Agile mindset.

The below article looks at how organizations must shift our practice-based mindsets to more behavior-based mindsets. This will allow organizations to leverage the “Agile” behaviors of collaboration and discovery, to produce valuable outcomes that move business organizations forward.

An Agile mindset focuses not just on the completion of the task. It lays more prominence on the value a certain task is going to bring to the end users. This is the reason why Agile is based on receiving continuous constructive feedback. Cultivating and nourishing this mindset, will result in amazing results – happy employees delivering great value and making clients excited with the results.

It is not just the tools or the certifications that bring about the Agile change, but more importantly the mindset and outlook of the organization which plays a pivotal role in Agile transformation.

Companies are looking forward to better ways and technologies to improve their productivity and efficiency. They can achieve this by bringing about a transformation in the mindset internally towards Agile, and also finding an experienced and expert service provider with Agile DNA.

Finding the right fit

Organization looking for Agile service provider need to take stock of where they are currently and what they want to achieve using Agile delivery models.

Backlog based delivery model – Release and iteration planning can be made easier with a well prioritized  backlog  which results in clear indication of what the service provider intends to spend time on – including the internal work that the customer might not notice. This helps in setting expectation with the stakeholders, especially when there are additional or change in requirements.

Automation using open source tools – There are certain impediments like cost, quality and coverage that might limit the expansion of automation. So it is important to have right set of open source tools and more importantly to have an automation framework in place, to succeed with test automation. The service provider with an agile DNA will exactly put the above points in place for their clients to reap the benefit of automation.

Hybrid solution – Traditional methodologies are often considered or blamed for not being able to adapt to the changes which makes software quality assurance difficult. While Agile approach has many credits to it but we need to think whether it applicable to all business scenarios. With that being said, we often see businesses using a combination of Agile and Waterfall models. This fusion is often a result of a trade-off to keep some level of planning and also reaping the benefits of iterative, collaborative and flexible approach.

A service provider with a proven Agile methodology in place in their domain area would be an added advantage.

Indicators for an organization’s agile mindset


        Inclination to communicate and collaborate

In a good collaborative ecosystem, team members commit to meeting a joint goal, and they’re not afraid to step outside their area of specialization to help others on the team. The era of QA department working as an isolated unit is over. Now in Agile world, QA and development team work hand-in-hand to deliver much greater business value to the clients. Agile needs to work both ways, empowering testers from the top down and taking responsibility for their development from the bottom up. It’s about aligning goals across your company so that every department and every member of your staff is pulling the team in the same direction.


        Understand the purpose

If a developer does not understand the purpose of a process, they will not know when to follow it and when to adapt it to their current situation. They will also not understand how to improve the process, which is a key part of developing in an Agile way. Similarly, a developer needs to understand the benefits derived out of using a particular technical practice otherwise they may not know when to use it, and when not to, or how to improvise on that practice.

It is highly recommended that senior management conduct proper training which would educate the employees regarding what being Agile is, in its true sense. This will help the team and the organization on the whole to become Agile, be flexible and learn to respond in every situation instead of reacting.


      Working software over comprehensive documentation

We believe that getting working software into the client’s hands early is more important than preparing labor-intensive specification documents. In reality, it’s difficult to really know what a solution should look like until someone has a chance to see it, and use an early version.

Teams need to orient themselves to carve out a feature from the high-level requirements that can be built fast and pushed to production (say, within a couple of weeks). Conventional “gates,” sign-offs, deep-dive reviews and inspections need to be replaced with suitable techniques from Agile or by suitable automation.


Accountability at the team level

Different teams developing pieces sequentially in different sprints makes it more difficult to understand when all the teams will complete their pieces of functionality and be ready to integrate and deliver them.  One team running late delivering their piece may impact the schedule of other teams.

Different teams working in the same sprint creates a lack of ownership for the feature.  The challenges are coordinating the teams working on the same feature and making all teams accountable for design and delivery.


Teams should have an open mindset to embrace change

Whenever you plan a set of features for a release, work with the customer to see if they could make use of a subset of those features. If so, release that subset first. You must then make sure that the features are really what the customer wants. At the very least you should be looking for customer feedback early and often, and building what the customer wants, rather than what you’d like to build.

Look for the following factors within your team

Factors for Agile Development


The Mobile First Approach to Digital Transformation

The Mobile First Approach to Digital Transformation

The Mobile First Approach to Digital Transformation

Digital transformation has evolved into a strategically imperative business operation for all industries – with mobile phones playing a key technology-enabler. In a bid to ‘mobilise’ banking, financial institutions are recognizing the role of smartphones in digital transformation and its integration into core business strategies.

In a recent report by Cisco it was stated that by 2021, there will be nearly 12 billion mobile-connected devices generating on an average of 5.7GB of mobile traffic per month, per user. While mobile banking apps are not new to the finance industry with 31% of consumers using mobile apps the most, as per Citi’s 2018 Mobile Banking Study. From checking their balances to transferring funds, apps are taking care of all banking transactions. Rapid development in mobile banking technology has shifted user’s perception towards digital payments and also seen an increase in “digital branches” that replace traditional banks. The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is working on plans to create a standalone digital bank and is soon to shut down over 259 branches across UK. With 5.5 million mobile banking customers, RBS is focusing on its mobile-consumers that prefer contactless technology.

Why should you consider a mobile-first approach?

As per Deloitte’s 2018 Banking Outlook report, the emphasis is on building a mobile-centric platform that’s redefining their retail channel strategies, product portfolios, and delivery models. The report stresses on the importance of viewing mobiles, not as a one-way window for delivering products and services, but rather places it at the core of delivery strategies.

  • Customer-centric approach

Consumers are constantly looking for services that are convenient, available at all times and do not compromise on security/privacy. To meet the demands of a growing tech-savvy consumer base banks have to quickly adopt technological solutions. Smartphones have become essential to deliver a seamlessly connected omnichannel customer journey. With a heavy consumer-base, an interesting trend seen in banks is the move towards design and user experience.

Mobile banking creates new rules for a customer-centric banking process – smart visual interface, building a relationship with the customer through other channels, generate traffic to increase sales and, improve speed-to-market rates with innovative solutions.

Mobile 1st 2nd

  • Options for cross-selling

An effective mobile banking strategy would include channels to improve cross-selling rates. A decline in bank foot traffic is making banks develop selling strategies that rely heavily on technology. Machine learning techniques are empowering financial institutions with data insights (such as app usage, location, transaction history etc.) that banks can leverage to increase sales. Analytics is also being used to acquire new customers through digital channels.

  • Breaking organizational silos

As banks transform into digital organizations a change in organizational structure is evident. Legacy systems are quickly being replaced by a unified system that operates irrespective of the technology stack evolvement, improves efficiency and is easily scalable. PSD2 has been the biggest driver for breaking down data silos, wherein banks have to start sharing data with their party providers. The new directive opens up banking industry to new entrants and is creating a shared data network system, where information is easy to access and share across all touch points. Banks, like HSBC, are adopting technology to centralize their operations and expedite services such as loan processing.

  • Keeping up with technology

The increase in connected devices is an opportunity for banks to capitalize on IoT and wearables. “Wearable banking” is soon going to be the next big thing to impact banking-on-the-go. It is forecasted that the Internet of things in banking market is expected to register a CAGR of 18.49% by 2023. Banks that succeed in keeping up with technological trends will become trendsetters for creating numerous downstream opportunities.

  • Competing with non-banks

With the new PSD2 directive banks have to find innovative solutions to compete not only with each other but also with non-banking organizations like Google, Amazon, PayPal etc., to retain their consumer base. For example, Apple recently announced the launch of Apple Pay – a secure payments service for iOS. It also provides loans to small and medium-sized companies. While organizations like Apple are not looking to turn into a financial institute, it is working towards partnering with banks to grow its financial stance.

  • Improving enterprise mobility and employee efficiency

While external innovation is taking place with the presence of apps and wearable-tech, financial institutes also have to look into improving workforce productivity. The right mobile strategy enables the bank to adopt digital transformation as a multi-faceted tool for their employees. For the mobile workforce, organizations could look at improving collaboration and productivity through mobile workstations, real-time access to customer and product information, and foster innovation within the organization.


Banking & Finance: The New Digital Imperative for Survival and Growth

Banking & Finance: The New Digital Imperative for Survival and Growth

Digital is the new imperative that is driving the banking and finance industry across the world

Five years ago, an AT Kearney Study had said that digital is touted as a revolutionary transformation that will bring many new features, including any time and anywhere banking, ultra-fast response times and omnipresent advisors. So a natural question people asked then was, why don’t banks pick up the pace? And the answer was simply that the banking and financial institutions needed to make fundamental changes to the way they operated. Well, that was in 2013. In the five years since that report, we have seen some tremendous thaw in the industry which has completely embraced digital.

The big change is that Digital is no more seen in a silo of client experience alone. The question today is: how can digital help quicken business decisions, manage new risks effectively and adhere to compliances better. If the client experience really has to jump to a new level, institutions have realized that they should go deeper with digital and change legacy standards and protocols.

For instance, banks and financial institutions are serious about deploying Cognitive Computing to increase productivity by bringing in automation and using the power of data. Cognitive Computing is believed to bring in processes, data and analytics to the point where institutions can service customers at the speed of thought, match customer expectations with specialized products and portfolios on the fly.

To illustrate the point, we look at a couple of key developments. The UK banking system is being revamped. UK, considered to be among the most conservative countries when it comes to technology reforms and adoption in banking and finance. However, it is about to witness a sea change in its retail payment system. While UK market had opened up to digital at the client level, it had held off core banking reforms. This is set to change. The Bank of England has recently approved a new system that will bring in a new clearinghouse, a faster payment engine with new standards and protocols. The NPSO (The New Payment System Operator) in the UK is mandated with building the next generation Open Banking platform. This offers new product opportunities for developers and vendors. It also addresses security and standards requirements that the new digital calls for.

Cross-border payment platform Swift is deploying Blockchains to help corporates track their payment more precisely and pinpoint reasons for hold-ups and delays. Swift helps corporates look at the payment journey from a new viewpoint using Distributed Ledger technology giving vital insights to its corporate users. Whether they are documented components, the purpose of payment, each node in the chain certifying the transaction increases the trust in the network.


Technology adoption info

In the US, AIX, an AI-powered brokerage house is set to disrupt the decade’s old interdealer brokerage model using Cryptocurrency. AIX is close to disrupting the model where voice negotiation is key in tradings. Typically, a trader wants to execute a transaction, picks up a phone and communicates to other brokers, match prices and conducts the trade. The system needs highly skilled manpower to do it which is expensive. Now, AIX is deploying an AI engine called the Rainbow Cognitive Engine which takes trade information from traders and distributes it throughout the network and brings back relevant information to the original trader. It brings in all kinds of data points across the market through the AI engine’s built-in logic and optimizes the outcome. AIX’s compelling value proposition is that all the markets will be available for a trader on a single platform. One can trade in US bonds market and invest the proceedings into Euro currency market or into Cryptocurrencies for example.

If you check the state of digital push in various regions, we have come a long way. Historically, US, Canada, Australia, UK and central European countries were quite committed to going digital. The birth of Fintech in the Silicon Valley demonstrated the power of applying technology in the sector. Most institutions in these regions began partnering with the young fitech startups to offer value-added services. However, with the growth of data analytics and big data push, banks and financial institutions in the regions committed to Digital soon realized that unless their internal teams were aligned to these new technologies they would not be able to withstand the competitive wave blowing across the globe. This had a cascading effect as bringing new technology in-house mandated that the institutions need to change their internal processes and governance. These regions are now aggressively pursuing the goal of changing core systems to align with the Digital model.

Other countries have been little more cautious. The bolder among them were happy wetting their feet with online and digital value-added services and watch for signals from experiments in going deeper into Digital. However, a quick look at state-of-affairs in more conservative regions shows us that EMEA, South America, and Asia have all jumped on to the Digital bandwagon without reservations. India is one big example which has made a huge jump to digital with traditional banking and finance institutions partnering with fintech companies. Far away in Chile to things are changing rapidly. The San Diego-based Banco de Chile is moving very fast into digital solutions aimed at making customer experience easier. Not to be left behind the Islamic Banking players too have started offering online and digital experiences. These offerings match other solutions except they adhere to the Islamic banking rules.

It’s only a matter of time before Digital takes over the banking and financial sector. The last bastion is the Regulations and Compliance front. With Digital, new risks are emerging and the authorities are racing against time to promulgate new policies, standards, and protocols. If you see Basel 3 Regulations, be it the need to keep data protected, keeping a trail of all electronic transactions or providing complete information on the website for making the informed decision, it is amply clear on how Digital is gaining importance.


Interview of the following people by http://www.thebanker.com/:

  • Likhit Wagle, IBM
  • Paul Horlock, Chief Executive Officer, New Payment System Operator (NPSO)
  • Tom Halpin, global head of HSBC’s payment products
  • Steve Compton of AIX

The AT Kearney Report: Banking in a digital world

IFF & McKinsey: The Future of Risk Management in the Digital Era



The Digital Transformation Checklist

The Digital Transformation Checklist

To go digital, it is essential that the entire organization – strategy, operations, training, and communication – be digital in nature, and not just make digital into a tactical move involving few departments or projects. It is essential to crystallize the bigger picture right from the beginning and break down the vision into missions to be accomplished over the years.

A few years ago digital footprint for an organisation was good to have, but today, digital is unavoidable. With the proliferation of channels, increase in usage of these channels across various demographics, and transformation of businesses keeping in mind the tech adoption forced by device manufacturers, the expansion of cloud technology across all spheres of operation, and the need to balance increasing demands from customers on one hand, while keeping costs and release times at a low given the frequency of change that digital undergoes, on the other digital banking or banking on the move has already made its impact and going through more innovation. With the customer expecting the same experience from a bank as they would from the retail sector, banks have to step-up their digital game in order to continue being of service to their customers. Here is a digital checklist for banks to implement a successful digital transformation:

Preparing the organization for the transformation
To go digital, it is essential that the entire organization – strategy, operations, training, and communication – be digital in nature, and not just make digital into a tactical move involving few departments or projects. It is essential to crystallize the bigger picture right from the beginning and break down the vision into missions to be accomplished over the years. A recent survey even indicated that more than 42% of its respondents weren’t clear about the digital transformation/strategy in measurable key performance indicators. Since the talent within the organization is the prime enablers of any digital goal, it is essential that they are in tune with this strategy.

Competency & people – vendor competency, internal skills training
Digital transformation necessitates internal reorganization and assimilation of new skills in order to make the transition a successful one. At the offset, much of the crucial technology skills might be in short supply, and companies might have to resort to intense short-term training for employees and/or recruitment of specialists on a contract/contingent basis to make up for the necessary skills required during this transition. Skill acquisition and skill upgrade are both extremely essential in order to attract the right kind of digital talent and also ensure that the existing talent is in line with the vision and do not become “irrelevant” in the changing scheme of things. The more ready the talent is to go digital, the more capable they are to assimilate and accommodate new age digital talent and learn from them, the smoother the transition will be.

Collaboration with fintech and other third parties
Fintech is real, it’s here, it’s disruptive, but it’s not going to change everybody’s life tomorrow. It’s going to unfold over many years in different ways. Fintechs are still tiny when compared to banks. In the lending context itself, while Fintechs have reached a lending figure of billions, the banks often deal in trillions. The basics still remain the same, i.e., you need a bank account to use most Fintech services. Banks know this and hence, they have to and, in fact, have begun exploring partnerships and alliances with Fintech companies, hire talent from outside banking systems and embrace the innovation. In fact, the FinTech companies will facilitate the bank’s ability to create more desirable, accessible and cost-effective B2B and B2C services. In order to further this collaboration, banks must adopt an API-centric integration model with such third party partners in order to open newer channels to meet customer expectations.

Tools & platforms
It is essential to clarify that having a mobile application does not entail a digital transformation, it is merely a digital channel (a user-friendly front end) to connect with customers. An organization becomes truly digital when the system powering such mobile apps, the operations involved, data processes, etc. become digital in nature. Use of cloud technology to update infrastructure, to scale up technology, to create quicker and more competent bundles, leveraging big data to predict customer behavior and create personalized banking experience, utilizing digital channels of marketing, campaign management solutions, etc. However, experts warn organizations against investing too soon in tools for furthering reach in technologies such as hybrid cloud, IoT, etc., Network instability and daily system outages are the prime challenges banks face when they add new tools to an architecture that is undergoing a transformation. Use of fewer monitoring tools leads to fewer system outages and disruptions of operations. With organizations in a digital mode working on a unified, cross-functional mode, tool consolidation is the key to monitoring cross-functional and cross-domain efficiency, so selection of a single comprehensive tool such as cloud bundle with predictive intelligence, workflow optimization, monitoring tools, etc. can help pave the path to a complete, yet stable digital transformation.

Process – Agile methodology
In the models prevalent today, business provides requirements and come to test for acceptance at the end; in a Digital World, the cooperation needs to be at every stage of the life cycle from requirements to release; Instead of business coming to technology, technology needs to move to business and involve them at validation at every stage of the journey.

The very need to move digital is a response to quicker timelines, better quality, and frequent changes precipitated by customer experience or technology disruption. To ensure the product or service delivery is seamless and uninterrupted, adopting agile, implementing continuous testing/assurance practices along with automation of processes hitherto done in manual mode is essential. While adopting automation too, it is necessary to avoid buying automation tools and suites which require specialized skills and dedicated manpower for their operation and maintenance.

*This article was previously published in Express Computer on 24th December 2017